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Be Seattle’s Next Civic Poet

Seattle Civic Poet 2023-24: Shin Yu Pai, photo detail by James Arzente

The Seattle Office of Arts & Culture (ARTS), in partnership with the Seattle City of Literature, commissions and supports an experienced poet for a two-year residency. The Civic Poet is a cultural ambassador for Seattle’s rich, multi-hued literary landscape and represents Seattle’s diverse cultural community. The selected awardee will receive $25,000 for their two-year commission from early 2025 through the end of 2026. In addition to annual City events, the Civic Poet will foster community dialogue and engagement between the City, the public, and other artists, while celebrating the literary arts.

As the City’s two-year ambassador of poetry, the role of the Civic Poet is to develop an annual workplan, execute a range of creative opportunities citywide, and deliver a closing debrief at the end of each year. These opportunities can include readings, workshops, projects, as well as speaking engagements – all in tandem with literary and community partners. The Civic Poet curates public occasions that connect and engage communities, City departments, and residents while promoting the value of poetry. As a featured presenter, the Civic Poet will participate in two annual public events with the Seattle City of Literature and for National Poetry Month.

The guidelines are also available in these languages:


This call is open to Seattle-based poets who have an established body of work including published/self-published works, reading/spoken word, plus project planning experience, and applied racial equity practice. You are eligible if:

  • You are based in Seattle (your residence is in the City of Seattle)
  • You are eligible to work in the U.S.
  • You are 18+ years of age at the time of the application due date
  • You are not an enrolled student at any level at the time of the application due date
  • You have demonstrated interest/experience in promoting equity and inclusion through the arts
  • You show strong program planning and implementation with partnerships


The compensation for the two-year Civic Poet commission is $25,000.

Funding is for a two-year period and covers time for writing, administration, artist fees, performances, event costs, materials, travel, fees, taxes, and other project-related costs.

Information Session

Learn more about the program and how to submit your best application.

Monday, July 22, 1 – 3 p.m. (Pacific)
In-person: ARTS at King Street Station
303 S Jackson St, Seattle, WA 98104 (Top floor, Room 315)
Virtual: Microsoft Teams

Application Draft Review Due Date
Tuesday, Aug. 6, 5 p.m. (Pacific)
Applicants can submit draft material for review and feedback up until Aug. 6 at 5 p.m. (Pacific). After Aug. 6, project managers are unable to provide full feedback but will be available to answer any questions and check for eligibility or completeness.


Apply online through Submittable. It’s free to apply. If you don’t have computer or internet access, contact Zach Frimmel, Project Manager, at (206) 963-9226 or

If you have trouble, check the Submittable FAQ for step-by-step guides. You can also contact Submittable tech support at


For information and assistance with the application, eligibility, or online technical support, contact Zach Frimmel, Project Manager, at (206) 963-9226 or

We have interpreters who can speak to you in your language, including American Sign Language (via video). Just call us and tell us what language you speak. Expect a short pause while we find an interpreter to join the call.